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New platform to share experiences on #inAbuDhabi

posted on 20/10/2014

The new online service meant to promote emirate's culture, entertainment and tourist spots; residents can add events.

Residents and visitors to the Capital have a new platform to share their experiences and events: #inAbuDhabi.

Announced on Sunday by the Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority (TCA), the new online service is meant to promote the emirate's culture, entertainment, heritage and hospitality both at home and abroad.

"The #inAbuDhabi campaign will be wide-reaching and rolled out across all communication channels of our visitabudhabi online resource. It will be used across social media for maximum reach and impact and will be a tool to tell the destination story locally, regionally and internationally,” said Mouza Al Shamsi, acting executive director of Marketing and Communications at TCA.

Individuals and organisations will from now on be able to add the #inAbuDhabi to any event, photo or review they share on a social media channel, such as Facebook, Instagram or Twitter, meaning that real-time, authentic social content posted by visitors and residents will highlight Abu Dhabi's sights and experiences, which may inspire others to plan a visit here. The #inAbuDhabi is also connected with the newly launch site - Tell Us Your Story #inAbuDhabi social media initiative to further encourage visitors and residents to share their experiences of the emirate on their social media channels. The site already has 12 stories shared by individuals, all telling of the great times they had in places such as Qasr Al Sarab, Tilal Liwa Hotel, the Observation Deck atop Jumeirah at Etihad Towers or touring Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque.

TCA rolled out #inAbuDhabi with the initial intensive, three months Tell Us Your Story #inAbuDhabi campaign, which will become an ongoing promotional theme and will include PR, advertising and promotional engagement across a range of media. "We are looking for people to showcase the best attractions, hotels, restaurants, activities and events in Abu Dhabi and for stakeholders to use #inAbuDhabi across their own communications platforms,” explained Al Shamsi.

On Facebook's #inAbuDhabi page, there are already dozens of events happening in the emirate being promoted, from Mubadala's World Tennis Championship from January 1 to 3 to UAE Offroaders Pink Drive charity and awareness campaign for breast cancer taking place on October 24.

"This hashtag, which has ease of recognition, will help better manage online content, nurture a larger audience discussion base, keep content lively and give the destination greater visibility in organic search engine results,” mentioned Al Shamsi. – Khaleej Times - http://www.khaleejtimes.com/nation/inside.asp?xfile=/data/nationgeneral/2014/October/nationgeneral_October179.xml§ion=nationgeneral


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Mohammed bin Rashid launches National Innovation Strategy

posted on 20/10/2014

The U.A.E. will become one of the most innovative countries in the world through a focus on seven sectors: renewable energy, transport, education, health, technology, water and space.

His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the U.A.E. and Ruler of Dubai, launched a National Innovation Strategy yesterday that aims to make the U.A.E. among the most innovative nations in the world within seven years.

The strategy will stimulate innovation in seven sectors where innovation is key to excellence: renewable energy, transport, education, health, technology, water and space. Its first phase includes 30 national initiatives to be completed within three years. These include new legislation, innovation incubators, investment in specialised skills, private-sector incentives, international research partnerships, and an innovation drive within government.

"The UAE is already the most innovative Arab nation. Our target is to be among the most innovative nations in the world. The competitiveness race demands a constant flow of new ideas, as well as innovative leadership using different methods and tools to direct the change," HH Sheikh Mohammed said at the launch of the strategy.

"This innovation strategy is a national priority for our programme of development and progress. It is a primary tool to achieve Vision 2021 and an engine for the growth of distinctive skills and capabilities across the nation. We have always called for creativity in every field: this strategy is a concrete step to implement that vision. These initiatives around innovation will enhance quality of life in the UAE and take our economy to new horizons," HH Sheikh Mohammed added.

H.H. Lt. General Sheikh Saif bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Interior, H.H. Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs, and Mohammed bin Abdullah Al Gergawi, Minister for Cabinet Affairs were present at the launch ceremony.

The strategy works along 4 parallel tracks.

The first track will anchor a stimulating environment for innovation in the form of supportive institutions and laws. It will shape specialised entities such as innovation incubators as well as technological infrastructure to fuel innovation in all sectors. It will also focus on research and development in various innovation fields.

The second track will develop government innovation by institutionalising innovative practices with the support of an integrated system of modern tools. The strategy requires all government entities to reduce spending by 1% and to dedicate the savings to research and innovation projects. National training and education programmes on innovation will also be launched.

The third track will encourage private sector innovation by stimulating companies to establish innovation and scientific research centres, to adopt new technologies, and to develop innovative products and services. The U.A.E. will attract pioneering international firms in key innovation sectors, establish innovation communities and zones, and support applied research in areas of national priority. It will also enhance the UAE's position as an international centre to test new innovations.

The fourth track will qualify individuals with highly innovative skills by concentrating on science, technology, engineering and mathematics, including the creation of educational material for schools and universities. The aim is to establish a national culture that encourages innovation and entrepreneurship through partnerships between the public, private and media sectors.

"Innovation today is driven by effective institutions, strong policies, specialised skills, and an economy where all sectors work together to discover new ways to conduct business. A flexible and creative economy based on a national culture of innovation is the fastest and most sustainable way to reinforce the U.A.E.'s competitiveness on a global level," HH Sheikh Mohammed said.

Current annual investment in innovation is worth Dh 14 billion in the U.A.E., of which Dh 7 billion goes to research and development. Innovation spending will rise significantly in the years to come.

The National Innovation Strategy includes 16 indicators to measure progress. Government-sector indicators include the percentage of innovative ideas and the proportion of budget allocated to innovation. Private-sector indicators include R&D investment and the knowledge profile of the workforce. Global indicators include an overall measure comparing countries' innovation capabilities, as well as indicators for the protection of intellectual property, the creation of patents and the availability of scientists and engineers.

The strategy contains practical initiatives in each of its seven priority sectors.

In the field of renewable energy, the strategy will establish a new organisation to facilitate decentralised power generation projects such as small-scale solar installations. The strategy will also encourage innovation in the renewables industry while also supporting applied research in clean technology.

In transportation, the strategy will stimulate innovation in air and sea travel as well as logistics. The aim is to provide new products and services, make procedures more effective, and save time. The strategy will also focus on innovation in the field of unmanned drones.

In education, the strategy will establish innovation labs in schools and universities as part of a drive to equip students with targeted skills such as critical thinking, problem-solving, creativity, perseverance and adaptability.

In health, the strategy will promote advanced technologies in healthcare services. It will stimulate the growth of the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries while also working with strategic partners to support medical research.

On the topic of water, the strategy will seek innovative solutions to the challenge of water scarcity.

Finally, the strategy will support space technology for the purpose of exploration as well as satellite communications and specialised research on terrestrial applications. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –

http://www.wam.ae/en/news/emirates/1395271086315.html


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DDF is world’s largest airport retail operation

posted on 20/10/2014

Dubai Duty Free (DDF) has been named the largest airport retail operation in the world, based on sales of US$1.8 billion (Dh6.6 billion) in 2013 by Generation Research, according to a statement by the retailer on Sunday.

This is the fourth time that DDF makes it to the first spot in Generation Research's annual report. It is ahead of Seoul Incheon, Singapore Changi and London Heathrow airport.

"We are obviously delighted to regain the No. 1 spot for the fourth time and to note that our business, along with the duty free business across the Middle East, continues to grow significantly,” stated Colm McLoughlin, Executive Vice Chairman of DDF.

Last year, global duty free and travel retail sales reached US$60 billion, representing a 7.5 per cent increase over 2012.

In the Middle East, airport-based duty free sales reached US$3.9 billion, marking a 10 per cent increase over the previous year. DDF accounts for 45.73 per cent of airport sales in the region.

The UAE ranked 7th, with a 4.1 per cent market share, among 25 countries for duty free and travel retail shopping. – Gulf News - http://gulfnews.com/business/retail/ddf-is-world-s-largest-airport-retail-operation-1.1401039


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ADCB is the world’s first bank to offer voice authentication in 3 languages

posted on 20/10/2014

Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank "ADCB", a U.A.E. major banks, will soon offer voice biometrics as a means to authenticate customers and allow them to perform banking transactions via phone or mobile devices more easily and securely. With this, ADCB is the first bank in the world to offer voice biometrics in Arabic, English and Hindi.

ADCB says it will simplify this experience using the secure voice biometrics technology to allow customers to simply speak and be taken at their word- no PINs, passwords or probing security questions. The voice biometrics technology compares the customer's spoken passphrase to a registered voiceprint. Once matched, it authenticates and permits the customer to proceed with the banking transactions. This is safe, secure and reduces the chances of fraud. ADCB has partnered with Nuance Communications Inc. to implement this system for their retail banking operations in U.A.E.

"ADCB has always been committed to bringing in new technology and innovation to customers' advantage and introduction of this new system is an extension of this commitment. Our decision to invest in this new technology was primarily driven by the key objective of enhancing the everyday banking experience for our customers" said Arup Mukhopadhyay, Head-Consumer Banking Group of ADCB.

Today, when customers call a bank to access their account, they are asked to prove their identity through a set of complex security questions – what the industry refers to as ‘knowledge-based authentication.' "In this competitive environment we need to make sure that Customer Convenience and ease of access are effectively balanced with Information and Transaction Security. The voice biometrics technology will play a vital role in ensuring increased security and convenience at the same time whilst making client calls shorter and reducing our overall cost to serve," said Ravi Nair, Head –Customer Experience.

"With voice biometrics, banks have a real opportunity to change their customer experience for the better, while at the same time providing a high level of security," said Robert Weideman, executive vice president and general manager for the Enterprise Division of Nuance. "Our voice biometrics technology offers a dependable solution for companies like ADCB who truly value customer convenience in a quickly-evolving digital banking environment." – Emirates News Agency, WAM –

http://www.wam.ae/en/news/emirates/1395271070917.html


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U.A.E. delegation in Colombia for final vote on Abu Dhabi candidacy to host 2019 World Energy Congress

posted on 20/10/2014

Suhail bin Mohammed Faraj Faris Al Mazrouei, U.A.E. Minister of Energy, and Chair of the U.A.E. National Committee for the World Energy Council, WEC, is leading a delegation of U.A.E. energy leaders to the Executive Assembly of WEC, the UN-accredited global energy body. Taking place in Cartagena de Indias, Colombia, from 20 to 22 October, the Executive Assembly is the annual convention of the 93 member committees of the WEC and is a key event for the governance of the organisation, as well as the election of the venue of the 2019 World Energy Congress.

Earlier this year, the U.A.E. Committee for WEC headed by Al Mazrouei officially entered Abu Dhabi as a candidate city to host the prestigious World Energy Congress. Since then, the Committee has been engaging countries from around the world to support the candidacy of the capital of the U.A.E.. The final vote will take place on 22 October during the plenary session of the Executive Assembly.

"The Abu Dhabi candidacy has received the full unequivocal support of the U.A.E. government and the nation's energy sector," said Minister Al Mazrouei. "During the Executive Assembly, the U.A.E. delegation will engage National Committees to support our candidacy, as we strongly believe that Abu Dhabi has a unique confluence of advantages that make it the ideal venue to host such a reputed event." The delegation of U.A.E. energy leaders to the WEC assembly includes Matar Al Neyadi, Undersecretary of the U.A.E. Ministry of Energy and Co-Chair of the U.A.E. National Committee for WEC, Fatima Al Foora Al Shamsi, Assistant Undersecretary of Electricity of the U.A.E. Ministry of Energy and Secretary of the U.A.E. National Committee for WEC, Dr. Thani Al Zeyoudi, Director of Energy and Climate Change of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mohamed Al Hammadi, Chief Executive Officer of the Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation, Humaid Al Dhaheri, Acting Chief Executive Officer of ADNEC, Jasem Al Darmaki, Acting Director-General of the Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority, and Mubarak Suhail Al Ketbi, Deputy Director of Marketing and Refining Directorate at Abu Dhabi National Oil Company, ADNOC.

The World Energy Congress is the premier global forum for leaders and thinkers to debate solutions to energy issues. Running since 1923, World Energy Congress takes place every three years and has taken place in 20 major cities around the world. In its last edition in 2013 in Korea, the event hosted more than 7,500 delegates from over 120 countries and over 30 government ministers from around the world. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –

http://www.wam.ae/en/news/emirates-international/1395271096816.html


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Khalifa Port’s productivity level grows by 36 percent

posted on 20/10/2014

As one of the U.A.E.'s leading enablers of development and trade, Abu Dhabi Ports Company, ADPC, is fast progressing while taking significant steps on its way to diversify Abu Dhabi's economy.

Only two years after the start of commercial operations, ADPC's state-of-the-art Khalifa Port now ranks number five in the Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) region with regard to port productivity, according to a report published by the Journal of Commerce (JOC).

At present, Khalifa Port shows a crane productivity of no less than 34 gross moves per hour (gmph), which marks an increase of 36 percent since September 2012, when the port commenced operations and showed an overall crane productivity of 25 gmph.

In addition, since 2013, the number of direct links from Khalifa Port to destination ports across the globe rose by 12, from 40 to 52. Furthermore, over the course of just one year, Khalifa Port managed to attract three additional major shipping lines, making it a total of 20 shipping lines being currently served at Abu Dhabi's flagship port.

"We are very proud of what we have accomplished within such a short time frame. This not only confirms our financial investments and hard work but Khalifa Port's massive potential in terms of productivity and service offerings for the years to come," said Capt. Mohamed Juma Al Shamisi, CEO, ADPC.

"Apart from its ultra-modern infrastructure and excellent market access to 4.5 billion people within four time zones, a major advantage of Khalifa Port is its proximity to Kizad. Both Khalifa Port and Kizad offer an unprecedented inter-modal transportation network, as well as optimum supply chain and logistics efficiencies," Al Shamisi explained.

Phase one of the new Kizad Logistics Park (KLP), which covers an area of more than 45,000 sq.m., has recently been completed. All of the 41 warehouse units of phase one have now been leased to national and international investors who are in the process of moving into their units.

Phase one of KLP is the first out of three phases. Phase two, which will add another 32 warehouse units, is expected to be launched later next year.

As part of a larger scheme, the logistics park, when finalised, will provide a total area of around 120,000 sq. m and is designed to become a major regional logistics and warehousing centre.

Agility, one of the world's leading providers of integrated logistics, and United Printing and Publishing, one of the largest newspaper print companies in the U.A.E, are only two examples of the high profile enterprises that have chosen KLP as their logistics base with more to be announced as phase two units become available.

Other companies, which have discovered KLP as a beneficial location for their business activities, include First Gulf Bank, Al Kabeer Foodstuff, Galaxy Building Materials, Back Office Logistics, Oriental Fasteners, Protect Middle East, Creative Communication and Smart Design.

"The completion of phase one of the Kizad Logistics Park adds to our success story and marks a further breakthrough in the development of our infrastructures. Khalifa Port and Kizad are cornerstones of the Abu Dhabi Economic Vision 2030, a vision that not only inspires us in our daily work but represents a clear road map for the future of this beautiful and flourishing country," Al Shamisi added. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –

http://www.wam.ae/en/news/economics/1395271058444.html


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DIP boosts U.A.E.’s industrial boom - attracts over 3,500 companies

posted on 20/10/2014

Dubai Investments Park, DIP, has continued to play a pivotal role in U.A.E.'s industrial and manufacturing boom by attracting over 3,500 companies across a wide array of sectors over the last 17 years.

Omar Al Mesmar, General Manager of DIP, said, "Dubai Investments Park has pioneered the model of community development with its bustling business and residential concepts as also staff accommodation. DIP was conceptualised with a mission to bring new businesses and industries in a comprehensively-planned business complex. Today, we are proud to be home to over 3,500 companies from various sectors – industrial to manufacturing to trading who have set up base in the park. In fact, DIP serves as a regional gateway for a number of companies." He added, "DIP is the most sought-after business park in the region and we provide investors and manufacturers the perfect breeding ground with the best and most-advanced infrastructure. The number of industrial units and factories within DIP is steadily growing and we have also witnessed increased demand for our warehouses. Our proximity to the Expo 2020 site is also fuelling the demand for manufacturing space as well as accommodation and we are geared to sustain this growth in the coming years." Born out of a pioneering vision by Dubai Investment, DIP is today a booming city-within-a-city, with over 30 office buildings, 25 showrooms, five schools, three hotels and 292 residential and staff accommodation buildings. As a world-class development, DIP extends unrivalled infrastructure, modern facilities, and quality services for a host of industries, be it manufacturing, housing, academic, research, distribution or logistics, among others. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –

http://www.wam.ae/en/news/economics/1395271066283.html


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Masdar Institute and ADEC win bid to host 14th Greenhouse Gas Technology Conference in Abu Dhabi

posted on 20/10/2014

The Abu Dhabi Education Council, ADEC, and Masdar Institute of Science and Technology yesterday jointly announced that Abu Dhabi has won the bid to host the 14th International Conference on Greenhouse Gas Technology, GHGT-14, in 2018.

The overall bid process was supported by Abu Dhabi Convention Bureau, a dedicated entity of Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority that facilitates the development and promotion of business events throughout the emirate.

Held once every two years, the GHGT conference series has established itself as the principal international conference on greenhouse gas mitigation technologies, especially on CO2 Capture and Storage, CCS.

Dr. Fred Moavenzadeh, President, Masdar Institute, said, "This is a win for Abu Dhabi and the U.A.E. that exemplifies our strong conviction in collaborative partnership. With the support of the country's leadership, Masdar Institute and ADEC have successfully emphasised Abu Dhabi's research ambitions in pioneering development of sustainable green technologies.

"We believe hosting global events of this stature in Abu Dhabi will further strengthen the status of the emirate as a centre for innovations in renewable energy and advanced technology. We are grateful to the IEAGHG management team and members for supporting Abu Dhabi's bid to host GHGT-14." Dr. Arif Sultan Al Hammadi, Executive Director of Higher Education Sector, ADEC, said, "Winning the bid to host the 14th Greenhouse Gas Technology Conference in Abu Dhabi stands as testimony to our commitment for collaborative efforts in attracting high-profile research-oriented events.

"ADEC has a clear strategy aiming to raise the quality of research in the emirate of Abu Dhabi along with a key goal to promote Abu Dhabi as a major research hub in the region. We believe our partnership with leading research institutions like Masdar Institute will help bring similar events to Abu Dhabi and achieve our vision." Dr. Mohammad Abu Zahra, Associate Professor of Chemical Engineering, Masdar Institute, and coordinator of the CCS research activities at Masdar Institute, said, "Research in greenhouse gas technologies has already begun to impact the region, with the world's first large-scale CCS project in the iron and steel sector moving into construction stage in Abu Dhabi. The emirate is looking to take the lead in these technologies and we hope hosting this conference will raise the profile of research activities conducted here in the U.A.E.." – Emirates News Agency, WAM –

http://www.wam.ae/en/news/economics/1395271068128.html


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RTA all set for constructing Phase II of Water Canal Project

posted on 20/10/2014

The Roads and Transport Authority is about to complete works under Phase I of the main traffic diversion on Al Wasl Road near Safa Park, needed as part of preparations for starting Phase II of the Dubai Water Canal Project, and the diversion is expected to be fully opened by the end of October this year.

The diversion extends for about half a kilometre and maintains the same number of the existing lanes in order to avoid any negative repercussions on the traffic movement.

Maitha bin Udai, CEO of RTA Traffic and Roads Agency, said, "Works are up and running in the Dubai Water Canal project and progressing according to the timeline set. The project works dictated diverting the traffic on Al Wasl Road including diverting the traffic flow from and to Abu Dhabi to the traffic diversion are underway while maintaining the same number of lanes.

The new traffic diversion will be fitted with all required traffic safety means such as signals, cautionary lights on the street and concrete barriers. Work has started in laying utility line conduits underneath the path of the proposed canal while protecting and diverting utility lines underneath the traffic diversion path. Concurrently with these diversions, construction work will start on the bridge on Al Wasl Road in the direction of Abu Dhabi, once the traffic movement is routed directly through the traffic diversion." Works in the Water Canal project are divided into three phases; the initial phase includes the construction of bridges across the Water Canal on the Sheikh Zayed Road sector where 8-lane bridges rising 8 meters above the water level will be constructed in each direction, thus enabling free marine navigation in the canal around the clock, as well as a number of improvements on the main roads network intersecting the course of the canal.

The second phase includes the construction of bridges across the Water Canal on the Jumeirah and Al Wasl Roads, comprising 3 lanes on the Jumeirah Road and 2 lanes on Al Wasl Road in each direction, in addition to a ramp from Al Wasl Road to Al Hadiqa Road in the direction of the Sheikh Zayed Road.

The third phase includes digging a 3.2 km-long canal, filling works to create an island on the beach side, constructing a marine wall around the island to prepare a sand beach, building marina for yachts and the Water Bus, and constructing three eye-catching footbridges. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –

http://www.wam.ae/en/news/general/1395271068320.html


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U.A.E. willing to act as part of a collective effort to combat emerging threats, airstrikes against ISIL not enough: Gargash

posted on 20/10/2014

The United Arab Emirates, U.A.E., has re-affirmed willingness to act as part of a collective effort to combat emerging threats and extremism, and emphasised that there is an "urgent need" to enhance common of understanding and regional and global challenges and to align strategic thinking to check emerging threats. U.A.E. also emphasised that while international airstrikes play an important role in checking the advance of Daesh ISIL, "ultimately these cannot be enough on their own." "Although military operations and intelligence cooperation will form an important part of these efforts, it is crucial that our cooperation extends to other areas as well. Foremost is our ability to stitch together political conditions on the ground in order to consolidate military gains. Naturally, other measures will include financial controls, immigration, and cultural and educational measures. U.A.E. is willing to cooperate with its partners in all aspects of these efforts," said Dr. Anwar Mohammed Gargash, U.A.E. Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, in his keynote speech at the opening of the inaugural forum of the Abu Dhabi Strategic Debate, hosted by the Emirates Policy Centre in Abu Dhabi.

"Nowhere is this more the case than here in the Middle East, where regional peace and stability are once more under threat," Minister Gargash said, adding that the sheer number of challenges the region is facing is unprecedented." Minister Gargash cited the sectarian warfare in Syria and Iraq, triggered by repressive governance; the rapid rise of Dae'sh (ISIL), fuelled by foreign fighters from around the world; militia violence and state failure in Libya; attacks on Yemen's sovereignty by foreign-financed Houthi rebels; and the recent violence in Gaza and Israel's continuing occupation of Palestine.

"In the face of these threats, there is a clear need for increased dialogue and coordinated action. U.A.E. is conscious of its regional responsibilities and is willing to act as part of a collective effort," the U.A.E. minister said insisting that none of these challenges can be tackled by regional actors alone. Instead, they require a concerted response, informed by a comprehensive strategy, employing a broad range of tools.

On Syria, the U.A.E. minister said the failure of the international community to act early on in Syria allowed the situation to descend further and further into chaos. "Urgent international action is now needed in order to strengthen moderate actors, and to provide them with the tools to fight extremism and intolerance." "While international airstrikes play an important role in checking the advances of Daesh, ultimately these cannot be enough on their own." (http://www.wam.ae/en/news/emirates/1395271080288.html)

The following is the full text of the keynote speech of Dr. Anwar Mohammed Gargash, U.A.E. Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, at the opening of the inaugural forum of the Abu Dhabi Strategic Debate, hosted by Emirates Policy Centre.

"Abu Dhabi Strategic Debate, Emirates Policy Centre.

Abu Dhabi, 19 October 2014 Speaking Notes for HE Dr. Anwar Gargash Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen, Welcome to Abu Dhabi. It's a great pleasure for me to open the inaugural forum of the Abu Dhabi Strategic Debate, hosted by the Emirates Policy Centre.

In these troubled times, there is an urgent need to enhance our common understanding of regional and global challenges and to align our strategic thinking to check emerging threats. Nowhere is this more the case than here in the Middle East, where regional peace and stability are once more under threat.

The sheer number of challenges we are facing today is unprecedented: Sectarian warfare in Syria and Iraq, triggered by repressive governance; The rapid rise of Daesh, fuelled by foreign fighters from around the world; Militia violence and state failure in Libya; Attacks on Yemen's sovereignty by foreign-financed Houthi rebels; The recent violence in Gaza and Israel's continuing occupation of Palestine.

In the face of these threats, there is a clear need for increased dialogue and coordinated action. The U.A.E. is conscious of its regional responsibilities and is willing to act as part of a collective effort.

None of these challenges can be tackled by regional actors alone. Instead, they require a concerted response, informed by a comprehensive strategy, employing a broad range of tools.

It is essential that we see the strategic picture in the current complicated debris. We need to discern the values that need to be protected and successfully championed; values such as national identity, stability, and an open-minded approach towards how societies and states should be governed. We must reject instability borne out of sectarianism and an outmoded and regressive view of religion. This strategic outlook, underpinned by values, must be ever present in dealing with the current turmoil. Without this clarity of vision, many of our actions and collective efforts will seem aimless and ineffective.

The broad scope and high-level attendance of today's conference are testimony to the urgent need for more coordinated action, based on a comprehensive strategy. Before you engage in today's discussions, allow me to highlight some central areas of concern for the U.A.E. in the region that are crucial to the current situation.

Extremism: Over the past few years, the U.A.E. has repeatedly warned about the growing threat that extremist actors and ideologies pose to our region. While some of our allies thought that we were being too alarmist, the rise of Daesh confirms the magnitude of the threat. Instead of becoming moderated through engagement, so-called "moderate Islamists" are increasingly being drafted into the ranks of radical groups. This demonstrates the fallacy of trying to distinguish between "moderate" and "radical" forms of ideological extremism. Make no mistake: many of these movements that are described as ‘moderate' in some lexicons, provide the environment for greater radicalisation and the emergence of groups such as Al Qaeda and Daesh. Therefore, countering the threat posed by these groups requires a clear-sighted and comprehensive strategy.

On the one hand, we need to acknowledge that these actors and their radical ideologies by their nature, cannot be moderated, manipulated, or contained. They are fundamentally opposed to the tolerant values and moderate agenda that unites us in the U.A.E. with many of our international partners. To check them, we need to maintain a common front. We cannot fight extremism in one place while attempting to appease it in another for the sake of political expediency. That is why a strategic and intellectual framework on what constitutes extremism, and how best to tackle it, is required.

Combatting extremism requires a broad range of tools and a sustained effort by the international community. Although military operations and intelligence cooperation will form an important part of these efforts, it is crucial that our cooperation extends to other areas as well. Foremost is our ability to stitch together political conditions on the ground in order to consolidate military gains. Naturally, other measures will include financial controls, immigration, and cultural and educational measures. The U.A.E. is willing to cooperate with its partners in all aspects of these efforts.

Syria & Iraq: The ongoing instability in Syria and Iraq concerns us all. Sectarian violence and ideology are increasingly spreading beyond the borders of both countries and affecting their neighbours. The millions of Syrian and Iraqi refugees represent an excruciating economic burden on neighbouring countries and a threat to political stability. Moreover, both conflicts have attracted external factors that are cynically exploiting the situation on the ground in order to widen their area of influence.

However, the drivers of instability in Syria and Iraq go well beyond the current challenge posed by Daesh and other extremist groups. At the root of the problem are the exclusionist and sectarian policies adopted by respective governments, preparing the ground for extremist actors. In Iraq, the formation of a new unity government, as well as yesterday's long awaited appointment of a new defence minister, have given reason for cautious hope. I have to however, refer to the recent and uncalled for statement by Iraq's Prime Minister Haider Al Abadi in his comments on the previous statement by US Vice-President Joseph Biden. His comments have unfortunately undermined the willingness of many countries in the Gulf to turn the page following the sectarian and exclusionist government of Nouri Al Maliki. Considering the importance and priority of creating a national and equitable government in Baghdad, the Prime Minister's statement produced grievous doubts to an already difficult enterprise.

The failure of the international community to act early on in Syria allowed the situation to descend further and further into chaos. Urgent international action is now needed in order to strengthen moderate actors, and to provide them with the tools to fight extremism and intolerance. While international airstrikes play an important role in checking the advances of Daesh, ultimately these cannot be enough on their own.

Egypt: In our assessment, any strategy designed to bring peace, stability and moderation to the Arab world requires success in Egypt. After years of instability, Egypt is at last returning to security and development, and is on its way to resuming its historic and necessary place at the centre of the Arab world. This is of central importance for our entire region. A stable and moderate Egypt is a cornerstone of regional stability, and a barrier to the spread of extremism.

However, as long as Egypt's economy remains fragile, it is important that the international community extends every possible means of support to the Egyptian government to prevent the country from backsliding into chaos and instability. The U.A.E. and Saudi Arabia have shouldered a large share of the burden of responsibility when it comes to supporting economic developments in Egypt. If we have learned anything in recent years, it is that jobs and growth are the most effective safeguards against radical ideologies and sectarian hatred.

In order to ensure a stable Egypt in a stable Middle East, it is crucial that the international community follows our path by providing greater support to the Egyptian government and by respecting Egypt's sovereign rights to deal with terrorism and disturbances on its territory in an even-handed manner.

Iran: The GCC and Iran share a common neighbourhood, for which we have a joint responsibility. In this respect, the U.A.E. welcomes the nuclear negotiations between the P5+1 and Iran. However, we consider it crucial that any future agreement with Iran on the nuclear file is airtight. Failure to conclude a solid agreement that prevents nuclear proliferation could have serious consequences – not only in our region, but far beyond, by undermining the non-proliferation regime.

Furthermore, I very much agree with Prince Saud Al Faisal's recent comments in his press conference with the German Foreign Minister. In these comments, he recognised the difference between Iran as state-and-society and Iran as an expansionist and aggressive foreign policy. The first, we welcome and consider a worthy historical and geographical neighbour with whom we see continued cooperation. However, the continued expansionism of Iranian influence in the Arab world poses a major problem in GCC-Iran relations, as well as Arab-Iranian relations more broadly. The list is long and includes Bahrain, Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, and most recently and dramatically, Yemen. The fact that this foreign policy is inherently sectarian further exacerbates the tension in the region. An Arab-Iranian cooperative and comfortable relationship will very much depend on non-interference, respect for national entities, and sovereignty of national politics.

Ladies and Gentlemen, we in the U.A.E. are proud of having built a model of tolerance and moderation in a region that has too often been driven by extremes. Due to the foresight of our leaders, our society has managed to undergo massive changes without sparking the same kind of violence that has affected other societies. We are proud of this achievement and of providing inspiration in a region where good news and good practices are few and far apart.

However, we are also conscious that we are not an island unto ourselves in our turbulent region. We are clear sighted and have no ambitions to play a much larger role regionally. Our foreign policy during this difficult period will continue to support the forces of moderation, stability, and openness. It will reject attempts to reshape our world along sectarian and extremist lines. This is why the U.A.E. is willing to shoulder responsibilities, together with our partners, to promote stability, moderation, and economic dynamism. To do so, we will require a common strategic vision and shared plan of action. With that end in mind, I am looking forward to a frank and open discussion. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –

http://www.wam.ae/en/news/emirates/1395271089351.html


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U.A.E. researcher: International campaign must have a common vision to combat terrorism

posted on 20/10/2014

To succeed in defeating Daesh (ISIS), all parties involved in the international campaign must have a common vision to combat terrorism, a U.A.E. researcher said on Sunday.

'It is impossible to succeed in eliminating Daesh without eradicating the breeding grounds, which have produced this phenomenon. We must also fight the likes of Daesh in the region regardless of its doctrine. Some countries cannot claim its desire to fight Daesh, while its behaviour in the region motivates the survival of the group, and produces similar groups under different banners, while it adopts a doctrinal geopolitical project that makes some societies accept the likes of Daesh, only to preserve their existence,' Director of Emirates Policy Centre (EPC) Dr Ebtisam Al Qutbi, said on Sunday in her opening speech to the First Abu Dhabi Strategic Debate (ADSD) at the Emirates Palace.

'The international campaign against Daesh is an asymmetrical war, which is one of the most important challenges facing the international coalition. In addition, Daesh and similar groups of non-state actors have become a tool in the struggle, in most "hot spots", with interests and objectives entwined with the interests and objectives of regional and international powers,' she told the two-day forum which draws an elite of politicians, decision-makers, intellectuals and experts from the GCC, Arab and western countries and organised by the EPC in partnership with the U.A.E. Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

In this context, she warned 'we must think about the dangers of the day after the fall of Daesh. This fall will lead to the dispersal of fighters who are out of control; thus, posing regional and international security threats.' She noted that the current World order is going through a fluid state, which has been evident in a number of developments, most notable of them are :an increased level of instability in the current world order; the changing nature of the driving factors of struggles and disputes in world order, which are no longer economic only, but cultural, religious and sectarian as well; the rise of the minorities factor which threatens many countries with the emergence of separatist movements or calls for independence; and the increasing role of non-state actors and their entwined role with the interests and objectives of regional and international powers.

Regionally, she added because Gulf States are located in a geostrategic environment where international interests merge, they face the determining factors for change in world order in the next 20 years, notably: the ability to reengineer coalitions with both old and rising powers; competition over regional roles; energy and its alternatives; the economic model; regional stability; race for new living spaces; and the security of waterways and straits.

The mutual state of attrition between regional powers, she continued, will not pave the way for the rise of a stable regional order; instead, it might change the landscape in a way that any future regional order will be doomed to fail.

'The U.A.E. has introduced a positive model, which has the elements of power through transparency and cooperation with the international community, not by challenging and destabilising it. This model contributes in shaping a regional order based on cooperation and mutual interests to achieve regional security,' she said.

'The U.A.E. hosts more than 200 nationalities that all live in an environment of tolerance and coexistence. This reflects the country's vision of how the world should be. The U.A.E. model has offered a microcosmic world that proves the possibility of coexistence according to the rule of mutual benefits and everyone's right to be different.' 'To succeed in our efforts to build a regional order based on cooperation and preserving collective security, we must agree that the dangers of the status quo outweigh the benefits. Therefore, new rules must be designed and agreed upon by all to end clashes between the security visions of regional and international powers.

'Furthermore, we must look for common denominators that may enhance cooperation, contribute in building regional and world orders with less clashes and wars and give a priority to construction and development in the region by adopting a model for economic integration among its nations and peoples to make this region part of the foundations of global stability,' she indicated.

Following is the full text of Al Qutbi's opening speech : I would like to welcome and thank all of you for your participation.

Since day one, the objective of Emirates Policy Centre (EPC) was to establish a think tank able to build bridges amongst research, academic and decision-making elites, provide consultations, and suggest policies that support decision-makers. Presently there are several research centres in the region. However, replicating one of them is not longstanding, because we do not deal with the international and regional landscapes as part of academic studies; which are disconnected from reality, or that are unable to turn these studies into policies that support decision-makers in their interaction with events and developments.

EPC is an independent think tank with an interest that mainly focuses on the United Arab Emirates and its foreign relations, as well as the Arabian Gulf region and its regional and international interactions. The Centre undertakes the task of foreseeing the future of the region, regional and international policy trends and the impact of different geopolitical projects on the region.

We, elites and decision-makers, meet today in the First Abu Dhabi Strategic Debate (ADSD) to fulfil the following objectives: - Reach a better understanding amongst international and regional actors, as well as enhance efforts of policy-making amongst them; - highlight the regional and international landscapes; - understanding and explaining the international relations and developments.

In organising ADSD and selecting its themes, EPC acts out of the conviction that GCC states with their strategic depth, are not recipients of regional and international powers' impact only, but are regional and international actors as well.

The current World order is going through a fluid state, which has been evident in a number of developments such as: - An increased level of instability in the current world order; - The changing nature of the driving factors of struggles and disputes in world order, which are no longer economic only, but cultural, religious and sectarian as well; - The rise of the minorities factor which threatens many countries with the emergence of separatist movements or calls for independence; - The increasing role of non-state actors and their entwined role with the interests and objectives of regional and international powers.

The following are three theoretical models, which have prevailed and explain the post-Cold War world order: a. Unipolar; b. Multipolar; c. Chaos and imbalance.

However, those models were unable to explain the rules and motion of the current world order, which calls for a new and realistic interpretation of the nature of international relations. EPC aspires to contribute in reaching such interpretation and hopes that this Debate will be the right step in this direction.

Because Gulf States are located in a geostrategic environment where international interests merge, they face the determining factors for change in world order in the next 20 years, notably: - The ability to reengineer coalitions with both old and rising powers; - Competition over regional roles; - Energy and its alternatives; - The economic model; - Regional stability; - Race for new living spaces; - The security of waterways and straits.

As the unipolar concept in world order went through changes, the regional order in the Gulf and the Middle East also, did not endure the idea of regional unipolarity or even the concept of a regional superpower. This was evident in the wake of revolutions in some Arab countries, the ensuing conflicts of geopolitical plans in the region, the decline of some of these countries' power and rearrangement of priorities by other countries. Therefore, all powers, which tried to impose themselves as leading regional powers, have failed and their endeavours led to the escalation of struggles and instability in the region. The following landmarks distinguish the regional landscape of Arab countries: First, the overlapping of Arab revolutions with international developments and geopolitical plans; Second, the changing outlook as a result of the disintegration of the Ottoman Empire and the European imperialistic plans (Sykes-Picot); Third, the rise of some regional powers, such as Iran and Turkey, as influential internal actors with an impact on the region's crises and balances; Fourth, the region is witnessing a long sectarian war, which is not likely to end soon; Fifth, the deep impact of religious extremism during political transition in countries, which have witnessed revolutions.

Due to the lack of a regional order recognised by countries in the region, GCC states, including U.A.E., have sought to establish an organisation for regional cooperation and security like the Helsinki Agreement, which has organised relations among European countries. We think that GCC countries are the most inclined in the region to accept such an agreement, but there are obstacles facing the emergence of such regional organisation, notably: - Some countries in the region insist on adopting a revolutionary project that does not respect the principle of state sovereignty; - Some countries are going through a state of instability and have turned into a field for proxy wars between regional and international geopolitical projects.

The mutual state of attrition between regional powers will not pave the way for the rise of a stable regional order; instead, it might change the landscape in a way that any future regional order will be doomed to fail.

The U.A.E. has introduced a positive model, which has the elements of power through transparency and cooperation with the international community, not by challenging and destabilising it. This model contributes in shaping a regional order based on cooperation and mutual interests to achieve regional security.

The U.A.E. hosts more than 200 nationalities that all live in an environment of tolerance and coexistence. This reflects the country's vision of how the world should be. The U.A.E. model has offered a microcosmic world that proves the possibility of coexistence according to the rule of mutual benefits and everyone's right to be different. The following are the most important achievements of this model: - Adopting a vision for comprehensive development; - Diversifying the economic base; - Trade exchange with all countries in the region and the world; - A peaceful and transparent nuclear energy program in cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA); - A project for space sciences; - An advanced oil industry.

- A regional and international political and humanitarian dynamic to cement the foundations of peace and contain the repercussions of crises and natural disasters. For instance, the U.A.E. has donated Dh 9 billion to fight poverty in the world.

To succeed in our efforts to build a regional order based on cooperation and preserving collective security, we must agree that the dangers of the status quo outweigh the benefits. Therefore, new rules must be designed and agreed upon by all to end clashes between the security visions of regional and international powers. Furthermore, we must look for common denominators that may enhance cooperation, contribute in building regional and world orders with less clashes and wars and give a priority to construction and development in the region by adopting a model for economic integration among its nations and peoples to make this region part of the foundations of global stability.

We meet today while the world is engaged in a campaign against Daesh ISIS, with a difficulty to predict the results of such a campaign. This meeting takes place at a time where some countries in the region are facing the possibility of disintegration, such as Yemen. To succeed in defeating Daesh, all parties involved in the international campaign must have a common vision to combat terrorism. It is impossible to succeed in eliminating Daesh, without eradicating the breeding grounds, which have produced this phenomenon. We must also fight the likes of Daesh in the region regardless of its doctrine. Some countries cannot claim its desire to fight Daesh, while its behaviour in the region motivates the survival of the group, and produces similar groups under different banners, while it adopts a doctrinal geopolitical project that makes some societies accept the likes of Daesh, only to preserve their existence.

The international campaign against Daesh is an asymmetrical war, which is one of the most important challenges facing the international coalition. In addition, Daesh and similar groups of non-state actors have become a tool in the struggle, in most "hot spots", with interests and objectives entwined with the interests and objectives of regional and international powers. In this context, we must think about the dangers of the day after the fall of Daesh. This fall will lead to the dispersal of fighters who are out of control; thus, posing regional and international security threats.

Once again, I would like to reiterate that EPC is holding the First ADSD to bring together such this distinguished participants to foresee the future of the world and the region and contribute to the enhancement of a common awareness among world and regional actors about the risks and opportunities resulting from transformations in world order; thus, bolstering policy-making efforts amongst those actors to minimise costs and maximise benefits. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –

http://www.wam.ae/en/news/emirates/1395271090406.html


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U.A.E. stresses support for Afghanistan and new government

posted on 20/10/2014

NEW YORK: The U.A.E. has stressed its commitment as a long-standing partner of Afghanistan, and of the recently-elected government.

Ambassador Lana Zaki Nusseibeh, Permanent Representative of the United Arab Emirates to the UN, yesterday moderated a panel at the United Nations on the "Political and Economic Transition in Afghanistan".

The panel convened following the release of "Afghanistan Reconnected: Regional Economic Security Beyond 2014", a report that is the culmination of four meetings organised by EastWest Institute, EWI, which took place in Istanbul, Islamabad, New Delhi and Berlin over the last two years, on cross-border economic challenges and opportunities.

These meetings, which were held with the support of the U.A.E., enabled leaders from Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Turkmenistan, Iran, China, the European Union, the United States and other nations, to exchange ideas, identify opportunities and clarify obstacles to growth.

The panel was a part of a series of high-level consultations that the EWI has been convening as a part of the Abu Dhabi Process, an initiative designed to address regional economic security issues in Afghanistan post-2014 and jointly funded by the U.A.E. and Germany.

EWI Chief Operating Officer, James Creighton, made opening remarks and thanked the U.A.E. for its support. Deputy Permanent Representative of Germany to the UN, Heiko Thoms, and Permanent Representative of Afghanistan to the UN, Ambassador Zahir Tanin, also provided opening remarks. The panel participants included the former Indian Foreign Secretary, Ambassador Kinwal Sibal and the Permanent Representative of Pakistan to the UN, Ambassador Masood Khan.

Lana Nusseibeh began the discussion by outlining the positive commitment of the U.A.E. as a long-standing partner of Afghanistan, and of the recently-elected government. She also commented on the relevance of having this discussion at the UN as the international community gears itself towards the next steps in terms of the role of the UN and how it can be boosted.

During the discussion, Nusseibeh also raised the role of women in the transition, highlighting the positive impact that women can play in promoting a durable peace and also countering violent extremism as per UNSC resolution 1325 on Women, Peace, and Security.

As part of the panel discussion, delegates were asked to share their views on how regional participants can help to lessen the negative impact of the withdrawal of international troops and promote continued growth in Afghanistan. The panellists also shared their views on how the economy of Afghanistan could be improved, and commented on the necessity of increased investment in the national economy and the development of a solid economic framework. The discussion highlighted the important link between economic development and security, as well as the challenge posed by the illegal drug supply, its trafficking and the illicit economy that accompanies it.

The discussion also reiterated the need for progress on the political front, highlighting the political-economic-security nexus amid a backdrop where Afghanistan, and the whole region, can benefit from strategic cooperation rather than competition. Various participants underscored the importance of a national reconciliation process that brings together various stakeholders for peace talks in a multi-ethnic setting, a top priority for the new Afghani President, Ashraf Ghani.

The Abu Dhabi process is the Fourth Report of the EWI on a series of meetings facilitated by that organisation and hosted by the government of Abu Dhabi since 2010, and, more recently, Germany, to reinstate open communication and trust between Afghanistan and Pakistan.

An event report will be available on the EWI website this week. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –

http://www.wam.ae/en/news/emirates/1395271054517.html


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Ministry of Interior wins 14 Stevie Awards

posted on 20/10/2014

The Ministry of Interior has won 14 Stevie Awards at the 2014 Eleventh Annual International Business Awards, IBAs, held in Paris. The Awards are the world's premier business awards, recognising innovation, corporate excellence and international business.

Dr. Ahmed Nasser Al Raisi, Director-General of Central Operations at the Abu Dhabi, was the Gold Stevie Winner in the "Information Technology Executive of the Year" category.

Brigadier Sultan Yusuf Al Nuaimi, Director-General of Residency and Foreigners Affairs in Ras al Khaimah ranked third in the "the Customer Service Department" and "Executive of the year 2014" categories.

Colonel Sheikh Mohammad bin Tahnoun Al Nahyan, Director of Peripheral Regions Directorate at the Abu Dhabi Police ranked third in the "Human Resources Executive of the Year" category.

This win reinforces the Ministry's position in the Global Competitiveness Index, and contributes to preserving security and stability gains, and advancing prosperity and development in the Ministry of Interior's various sectors.

The awards were presented during a gala banquet in France, in the presence of international institutions and executives who won the prestigious global award. The 2014 IBAs received entries from organisations, major companies and factories in more than 50 countries, with more than 3,500 nominations submitted for consideration in the wide range of categories. http://www.wam.ae/en/news/emirates/1395271042883.html


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MoI introduces Certificates of Good Conduct service via smart applications

posted on 20/10/2014

The MoI has introduced the issuance of Criminal Status Certificates (Certificates of Good Conduct) service as part of its smart services bundle.

The smart services will help all sectors of society save time and effort, and enable them to access these services through smartphone applications anywhere any time, without the inconvenience of having to visit service centres except for special cases that require a personal presence.

This announcement was made by Major-General Dr. Ahmed Nasser Al Raisi, Director-General of Central Operations, and Chairman of the e-Transformation Higher Committee.

He also explained that the MoI has launched an array of services via smartphone applications that would significantly reduce the burden on customers, citizens and residents alike.

These services include issuance of Criminal Status Certificates, citizens' passport renewal, issuance of short-term (60 and 90 days) visas, issuance of domestic workers visa and traffic services such as vehicle registration renewal, payment of fines and vehicles plates reservation. The services bundle also includes about 30 other services that include all MoI sectors, including Traffic and Licensing, Civil Defence, Police, Immigration and Naturalisation.

Major-General Dr. Al Raisi said, "The MoI is seeking a complete revamp in the way it delivers its services to the public in line with its commitment to streamline and facilitate all procedures in a safe manner, using the person's identity card. A call centre is also available round the clock to provide assistance to members of the public, and respond to all inquiries." Colonel Barakat Yaaqoub Al Kendi, Chief of the Systems Development Section, and Chairman of the Executive Committee at the MoI, indicated that the Ministry is about to initiate a revolutionary change in the way it provides electronic and smart services.

Discussing the technical aspect of the smart applications, First Lieutenant Mohammed Darwish Al Balouki, Analysis and Development Branch Manager and Head of the Technical Team in charge of developing the smartphone applications at the MoI, said that the Ministry has provided all necessary technical capacities to provide, protect, and develop e-services for the benefit of community members, both in English and Arabic. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –

http://www.wam.ae/en/news/emirates/1395271043745.html


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Etihad Airways takes breast cancer awareness campaign to Abu Dhabi International Airport

posted on 20/10/2014

Etihad Airways, the national airline of the United Arab Emirates, has extended its Breast Cancer Awareness campaign to guests and employees at Abu Dhabi International Airport.

Etihad Airways cabin crew wearing pink uniforms distributed pink ribbon pins and information leaflets with breast cancer prevention advice to guests, employees and local authorities in the Terminal 3 departure areas of Abu Dhabi Airport.

Coordinated by the Etihad Airways Medical Centre, the initiatives are part of the airline's wider efforts to promote breast cancer awareness among employees and in the community, particularly during October.

In partnership with the Health Authority of Abu Dhabi and Lifeline Hospital Group, the Etihad Airways Medical Centre is also hosting a mobile breast cancer mammography screening unit for employees and employees' wives over 40. In addition, all female employees, regardless of age, can get a free consultation at a breast cancer awareness drop-in clinic operating at the centre.

The airline also supported a ‘Pink Plunge Abu Dhabi' bungee jumping event organised by Breast Cancer Arabia at Emirates Palace, the annual ‘Pink Polo' event at Ghantoot Racing and Polo Club, and the 'Pink Lady Golf Day' at Abu Dhabi Golf Club. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –

http://www.wam.ae/en/news/emirates/1395271054707.html


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Emirates Red Crescent distributes thousands of school uniforms to Gaza students

posted on 20/10/2014

GAZA: The Emirates Red Crescent, ERC, in the Gaza Strip has begun distributing school uniforms to underprivileged students attending UNRWA schools in Gaza at the start of the new school year.

Emad Abu al-Laban, Director of the ERC Office in Gaza, who is overseeing the distribution of uniforms, said the project seeks to assist disadvantaged residents of Gaza who are facing economic difficulties.

Abu al-Laban added that the project, which has been organised in cooperation with UNRWA, has so far distributed 5,000 uniforms to female students as part of efforts to alleviate some of the financial burdens of their families.

The ERC is eager to provide assistance to as many people as possible, adding that the organisation carries out a number of other projects with the help of Gaza charities, noted Abu al-Laban.

The school principals thanked the ERC for their efforts and said the school uniforms have been delivered to those students who are most in need, following criteria developed for this purpose.

The students receiving assistance also expressed their thanks to the U.A.E. and the ERC for their humanitarian efforts in Gaza. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –

http://www.wam.ae/en/news/emirates/1395271064747.html


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MBRF and UNESCO continue literacy programme in Somalia

posted on 20/10/2014

NAIROBI: The joint committee of the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Foundation, MBRF, and the United Nations Organisation for Education, Science and Culture, UNESCO, Regional Office for Eastern Africa, have held a meeting in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi, to discuss its literacy project in Somalia, a programme funded by MBRF and being carried out by UNESCO.

Mohammed Obaid bin Ghannam, Secretary-General of the MBRF, praised the cooperation with UNESCO, who he said have been working in full partnership, bringing to play their experience and specialisation in the educational field; noting that the project is especially important, given the difficult conditions in Somalia which have impacted negatively on the continuation of the educational process there.

The Secretary-General said that experts from both groups discussed carrying out projects, along with the difficulties and challenges they face and seeking the means to overcome such problems.

Mohamed Djelid, Director, UNESCO Regional Office for Eastern Africa, said that UNESCO's ties with MBRF have created a real partnership, special interests and mutual concerns.

Jaleed went on to say that the meeting focused on the need for the participation of Somalia's central and local government, civil society organisations, tribal leaders and opinion leaders in this effort to fight illiteracy in the African country.

The meeting also covered the need to develop a curriculum, and highlighted the importance of coordinating with universities and civil society organisations, as well as the importance of providing libraries and modern teaching aids to help in the success of the programme. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –

http://www.wam.ae/en/news/emirates/1395271065945.html


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Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing regain lead

posted on 20/10/2014

ALICANTE: Chinese boat Dongfeng Race Team lost the Volvo Ocean Race lead early on Saturday after an unidentified object in the Atlantic smashed their rudder.

The crew were forced to replace the part after the "violent impact” rocked the boat.

The delay to affect repairs was enough for close rivals Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing to regain the lead in a very tightly contested opening leg from Alicante to Cape Town in the nine-month offshore marathon race.

Dongfeng's on-board reporter Yann Riou reported to Race HQ that the team were forced to send a crew-member into the sea to remove the broken rudder.

"We had two options, installing the emergency rudder or removing what was left of the old rudder and putting the new one in place. We decided to go for the second option,” he told Race HQ.

"Thomas (Rouxel) put the diving suit on. He jumped into the water...removed what was left from the old rudder (not much) and we put the new one in place. We are all disappointed...it does not look very fair but there's nothing to do about this.”

Seven boats are competing from China, Abu Dhabi, Spain, Sweden, the Netherlands, Turkey/US and Denmark. (REUTERS) http://www.khaleejtimes.com/sport/inside_sport.asp?xfile=/data/nationsports/2014/October/nationsports_October126.xml§ion=nationsports


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Reigning US Open Champ Marin Cilic adds Croat muscle to U.A.E. Royals IPTL campaign

posted on 20/10/2014

Grand Slam champion and World no. 9 player, Marin Cilic, will represent the U.A.E. Royals, the Dubai based International Premier Tennis League, IPTL, franchise, in its inaugural edition. Together with world no. 1 Novak Djokovic, current US Open champion, Cilic will lead the imposing team of the U.A.E. Royals, thrilling tennis lovers in matches featuring several of the world's finest players from the ATP and WTA rankings.

Cilic will travel to the IPTL's match destinations in the Philippines, Singapore and India before finally playing out to a packed stadium at Dubai's magnificent Hamdan Sports Complex from December 11th to 13th, 2014.

As of now, the U.A.E. Royals comprise World no. 1 Novak Djokovic, Marin Cilic, Canadian tennis sensation and current World no. 6, Eugenie Bouchard, former World no. 1 Caroline Wozniacki, the legendary Goran Ivanisevic, who is also Cilic's coach, doubles specialist Nenad Zimonjic, and the no. 1 Arab player in the world, Malek Jaziri.

Commenting on his entry into the U.A.E. Royals squad, Marin Cilic said, "The International Premier Tennis League presents an exciting platform for tennis players to enjoy the sport in a brand new way and I am thrilled to be part of the inaugural edition. The U.A.E. Royals are a power-packed squad and I look forward to playing for the team in front of fans in Dubai and other cities." Sawan Ravani, co-owner of U.A.E. Royals, said, "We are honoured and thrilled to have Marin Cilic, who is currently storming the Kremlin Cup in Russia, join the U.A.E. Royals team. A super energetic player who has climbed the ATP rankings steadily, Cilic will add his own brilliance to a team that already boasts legends such as World No 1 Novak Djokovic and Goran Ivanisevic among its male players. Ivanisevic, incidentally, discovered and mentored Cilic, so their relationship brings a special chemistry into our team." "We can't wait to see Cilic play at the Sheikh Hamdan Sports Complex, Dubai, this December. We know he will delight and thrill his fans here. Young tennis players will be particularly inspired by this player famous for his powerful aces," Ravani added.

Sachin Gadoya, co-owner of the U.A.E. Royals, said: "Cilic has shown remarkable resilience and fortitude as a player. We all admire him for his ability to bounce back from difficult situations. We know he has a strong fan base in the U.A.E. and we are very happy we can bring this ace to play for Dubai. As you can see, U.A.E. Royals is a formidable team and we are sure all our players will fulfil their fans' expectations. This will be one tennis weekend Dubai will always remember." At a career-high No. 9, Marin Cilic captured his first Grand Slam title at the US Open this year, also becoming the first Croatian to claim a major crown since Ivanisevic at Wimbledon in 2001. This has been a landmark year for the Croat, who has taken the tennis world by storm and is hoping to maintain his top form in the coming months.

Tickets for the U.A.E. leg of the tournament will be available in two format options – day passes or season passes – and in three sections – Regular, Corner Prime and VVIP. Customers who opt to purchase season passes can enjoy a special 10 percent discount.

The IPTL is a unique team-based tennis league founded by multiple Grand Slam winner, India's Mahesh Bhupathi, and played across four countries in Asia. The league will feature 21 Grand Slam champions and 14 current and former World Number Ones, with the winning team walking away with prize money of US$ 1 million. The inaugural edition will be held in the cities of Manila, Singapore, New Delhi and Dubai between 28th November and 13th December 2014.

The IPTL promises to ‘Break the Code' of the game's traditional format in order to attract a new audience to the sport. Modelled after successful international sports franchise concepts and being recognised as tennis' newest spectacle, the IPTL combines world-class sport and entertainment in a format that keeps both on-ground spectators and global TV viewers thoroughly engaged. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –

http://www.wam.ae/en/news/sports/1395271063579.html


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Emirati trio face pressure as title race hots up in Desert Championship

posted on 20/10/2014

The Emirati trio of Ahmad Al Fahim, Mohammed Al Balooshi and Humaid Al Mashghouni can expect to come under immediate pressure as they each attempt to build on a winning start to the new season in the Emirates Desert Championship this weekend.

Al Fahim and Al Balooshi lead the overall cars and bikes categories respectively heading into the second round of the series on Friday, while Al Mashghouni tops the quads standings following a record-breaking launch to the 2014-15 season.

The first of six rounds attracted 100 starters on four and two wheels, and that number could rise again when Round Two action unfolds during another short course event staged in the Dubai desert.

Defending overall cars champion Al Fahim leads the title race after another impressive display in his Polaris, but Mansour Al Helei, Ian Barker and Emil Kneisser in a succession of Nissan Patrols and Graham Rose and Chris Jackson in Polaris and Can Am buggies are among the chasing pack.

While Al Balooshi has made his name as a top class moto-cross rider, capturing a string of Arab championship titles, he has now set his sights on more success in the Desert Championship and leads the fiercely contested overall bikes standings from Kuwait's Mohammed Jaffar, also riding a KTM.

Competition is also tough in the quads class, where Al Mashghouni is the early championship leader after a powerful first round display when he edged out Dutch rider Sebastian Husseini, who finished third in this year's Dakar Rally.

Organised by the Emirates Motor Sport Federation, with TAG Heuer Middle East as the official timekeeper and founding partner, the Emirates Desert Championship is run with the support of the Automobile and Touring Club of the U.A.E..

"The series has captured the imagination of drivers and riders alike and created a genuine buzz of excitement," said ATCUE President, Mohammed Ben Sulayem, the FIA Vice President. "Attracting 100 competitors for the last round was a milestone, and we're sure the championship will continue to grow in popularity this season and in the years ahead." The second round gets under way at 9 a.m. on Friday, with the bikes and quads running on one loop and the cars and buggies competing on another at the same time, all aiming to complete as many laps as fast as possible over a window of approximately two hours. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –

http://www.wam.ae/en/news/sports/1395271065379.html


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U.A.E. Jiu-Jitsu Junior National Team brings home 45 medals

posted on 20/10/2014

LOS ANGELES: The U.A.E. Jiu-Jitsu Team put up an impressive performance in its first overseas competition, bringing home a rich haul of 45 medals in the American National Kid Championship held over the weekend.

Mubarak Al Menhali, the Head of Communications, U.A.E. Jiu-Jitsu Federation, said the U.A.E.'s young athletes won 15 gold, 17 silver and 13 bronze medals.

'The team portrayed a bright image of the U.A.E. in the competition and at the parallel exhibition,' he added.

Almost every one of the 48-member U.A.E. squad, including seven girls, in the age group of 10 to 16, were on the podium in the two-day championship at the Convention Centre in Long Beach in Los Angeles, California, he said.

The championship attracted more than 330 entries in more than 100 different weight and belt categories. – Emirates News Agency, WAM –

http://www.wam.ae/en/news/sports/1395271084731.html




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All eyes on U.A.E.’s Al Mazrouei

posted on 20/10/2014

DUINDIGT: After the superb win by U.A.E. Apprentice jockey Ahmed Al Subose in Tarbes, France last week, all eyes will be on another U.A.E. Apprentice Saeed Al Mazrouei in Sunday's penultimate race of the HH Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan Global Arabian Horse Flat Racing Festival's HH Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak Apprentice World Championship (IFAHR) to be held at the Duindigt racecourse in The Netherlands.

In his fourth season as an apprentice, Al Mazrouei has 22 wins under his belt and will be riding the CJM Wolters-trained Derham. The grey cold by Amer has had two second-placed finishes this season and will need to improve on that to better some fancied rivals.

The Diana Dorenburg-trained Hurra and the Gillian Duffield-trained Munya Farah appeal the most in a small but quality field for the turf contest over 1900 metres with a prize fund of Euros 22,000 on offer.

Spain's Jaime Gelabert Bautista, who finished fifth on Ainhoa Madjanis in the recently concluded third leg of the HH Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak Apprentice World Championship (IFAHR) in Tarbes, France last Sunday, gets the ride on Hurra. Hurra won the Qatar NEAR Elite Arabian Derby on August 3 and prior to that also won the HH Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan Global Arabian Horse Flat Racing Festival's Wathba Stud Farm Cup 3 race at the same course in Duindigt.

The Duffield-trained Munya Farah, a winner of the Wathba Stud Farm Cup Premier Stakes in Newbury last year, finished fourth to Udjess de Bouzouls in the Festival's Euros 30,000 HH Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak Ladies World Championship race on June 22. The drop in class could suit the Munjiz filly that will be ridden by Malaysian Apprentice Amirul Adli Ismadi.

Dorenburg also saddles Nabukko to be ridden by Irish Apprentice Josh Doyle, Fareedha to be ridden by Czech Republic's Simona Molkova and Jimmy des Cedres under Hector Crouch from Great Britain.

Germany's Bayarsaikhan Ganbat, who finished third in last year's HH Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak Apprentice World Championship (IFAHR) finale in Abu Dhabi, will be looking to once again clinch a berth in this year's final to be ruin on November 9 in Abu Dhabi. With 96 wins under his belt, Ganbat will be hoping for a winning debut from Astarte da Bonorva.

Sunday's winner will join the previous three winners at Sacramento, Newbury and Tarbes and will be joined by ten other Apprentice Jockeys for the grand finale of the HH Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak Apprentice World Championship (IFAHR) series which was unveiled by the HH Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan Global Arabian Horse Flat Racing Festival this year.

"We are extremely delighted to be staging this race, which aims to boost Apprentice jockeys, here in The Netherlands. With this event, we will have the proud privilege of having staged races of all the four series organised by the HH Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan Global Arabian Horse Flat Racing Festival — the other three being the Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan Cup series, the HH Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak Ladies World Championship IFAHR series and the Wathba Stud Farm Cup series,” said Wieger Joost de Ruiter, IFAHR Treasurer and Chairman of the Dutch Arabian Racing Committee. – Khaleej Times - http://www.khaleejtimes.com/sport/inside_sport.asp?xfile=/data/horseracing/2014/October/horseracing_October7.xml§ion=horseracing


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Rita Ora, Jason Derulo to perform at Abu Dhabi’s Beats on the Beach

posted on 20/10/2014

Pop stars Jason Derulo, Rita Ora and Ragheb Alama are some of the big names performing at next month's Beats on The Beach.

They join over a dozen international and regional acts who will play free shows at the Abu Dhabi Corniche during the F1 weekend.

The festival is also moving to a new location in the capital's iconic promenade - before it was based on East Plaza and Al Sahil Beach, but the latest edition will move to the West Plaza and Lagoon Beach.

The music action kicks off on Thursday, November 20, with Filipino star Charice leading a bill including American rapper Juicy J and Iraqi songstress Chada Hassoun.

The following night will find Derulo marking his U.A.E. return alongside Bollywood playback singer Hard Kaur and the Emirati singer Ruwaida Mahrooqi.

On November 22, the popular Lebanese crooner Ragheb Alama will take the stage. He will be supported by the British starlet Rita Ora and up-and-coming American pop singer Tinashe.

Each night is also set to feature a solid line up of local acts. Booked to make an appearance at the beach are the popular rockers The Boxtones, Nikotin and Juliana Down in addition to the smoother sounds of Kicksound and Jae Franklin. – The National - http://www.thenational.ae/arts-lifestyle/music/rita-ora-jason-derulo-to-perform-at-abu-dhabis-beats-on-the-beach


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